New Feature: Q&APosted on June 29, 2012
You have questions that the HUM team would like to answer.
Starting in July 2012, we will be incorporating a Question and Answer section into our newsletter. This is your opportunity to submit questions anonymously to us about HUM’s team, programs and services, or anything related to addiction, mental health, and chronic pain. Each month the HUM team will try and respond to all of your questions in the newsletter.
Please email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned to future editions of the newsletter for the HUM team’s response.
Sugar OverloadPosted on June 23, 2012
By Sue Newton, R.N., M.N.
These days when sugar is added to most processed food, it is hard to avoid the stuff. Considering that sugar is addictive and can be harmful to your health, it is wise to find out exactly how much you are consuming.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that we are consuming more than three times the roughly six-teaspoons-per-day max recommended by the American Heart Association. That’s roughly 300-plus extra calories from sugar each day!
Because sugar is in healthy fruits and vegetables like beets, corn, and potatoes, you are probably getting your daily recommended amount of sugar before you even bite into a piece of cake. That is not to say that you should cut back on produce, as it is an essential part of a healthy diet, but you need to be aware of how much sugar you are getting from processed foods, which make up “50 percent of the sugar we eat,” says Robert Lustig, M.D., a researcher on childhood obesity at the University of California at San Francisco. Flavored yogurt, tomato sauce, ketchup, bread, salad dressing, and crackers all have forms of sugar added during processing. Compounding the problem is that sugar goes by many aliases-sucrose, cane juice, simple syrup, fruit juice, and dozens more. Additionally, many of the foods that contain sugar, like bread and salad dressing, do not taste remotely sweet and, therefore, we may not be aware of how much sugar is hiding within them.
Sugar is generally made up of both fructose and glucose molecules. Fructose and glucose are metabolized differently by your body; when consumed in excess, fructose triggers your liver to convert it to fat, while glucose triggers a blood-sugar spike and the release of insulin, a fat-storing hormone, to counteract the spike. Eating too much sugar may stimulate your appetite rather than satisfy it, so after eating sugar, your body can actually crave more food.
Evidently, then, most of us could stand to cut back on the amount of sugar we consume, but it is certainly no easy task. Here are some (fairly painless) ways that you could start:
Don’t sip sugar: Beverages are a big source of sugar in many diets, and most of the time they do not even fill us up or provide much nutritive value. Researchers speculate that the human body did not evolve to register liquid calories the same way it does solid foods. When you are aiming for a healthy lifestyle, avoiding sugary drinks can easily help you slash 500 calories a day from your diet.
Think au naturel: Curb cravings with fruit. Fruits contain sugar, but their other main ingredient, fiber, slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, blunting the dangerous high-low cycle.
You will still want to exercise portion control, though, especially with canned, dried, and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, which are concentrated sources of sugar and calories.
Sweat for sweets: Yes, working out is part of a healthy lifestyle and it can also help protect against the harmful effects of sugar. As well, fructose combined with other sugars can improve exercise performance by helping to boost energy.
Sap your cravings: If you are going to have sweeteners, you might as well choose ones that offer extra health perks, such as honey and maple syrup. There has long been buzz about honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and a group of researchers at the University of Rhode Island discovered that real maple syrup contains 54 antioxidants, 20 of which have known health benefits. But teaspoon for teaspoon, both honey and maple syrup have roughly the same number of calories as sugar, so be sure to drizzle them on sparingly.
Try some on cottage cheese or yogurt, or mix a bit into tea.
Take baby steps: Scale back slowly and you may find your sugar cravings diminishing. Use a little less sugar in your coffee each week until you can drink it black (or with a little low-fat milk or a pinch of cinnamon as your taste buds adjust over time).
We recognize that sugar is so abundant in our diet that curbing use can be challenging, particularly if you struggle with food issues and addiction. However, healthy recovery can involve incorporating the steps above and moderating or eliminating your intake of high-risk, or trigger foods, that lead you to consume more sugar or fat. Remember, the key is balance and finding health in all areas, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual.
Client Services SurveyPosted on June 20, 2012
Earlier in June, a Client Services Survey was sent out to all of our clients and newsletter recipients via e-mail. We are interested in hearing your feedback about exciting programs and services that we could potentially offer, as well as updates to our Website and social media tools (Facebook and Twitter). This survey is anonymous and confidential and administered through Survey Monkey.
Over the summer the feedback will be compiled and we will start working on implementing your suggestions into our services and advertising tools. If you have not received the survey and would be interested in contributing your feedback, please send your e-mail address to Paige Abbott at email@example.com and the survey will be sent out to you.
For those of you who have already submitted your feedback, thank you! It is much appreciated.
WorkshopPosted on June 7, 2012
What people are saying
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help